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The Steering Wheel Mistake That Makes Neck Pain Much Worse When Driving…

3 Quick & Easy Changes Made In The Car To Enjoy Long Road Trips & Short Drives to the Store Again

By: Dr. Arnan Sisson, PT


The National Institute of Health say’s that 30-50% of Adults in the U.S. have neck pain, and 50-85% of those individuals never experience complete relief. I don’t want any of my readers to fall into these crazy statistics.

Do you, family members, or even friends have any of the problems below?

  • Unable to tolerate any drive over 2-3 hours without pain levels shooting up beyond a 4/10
  • Your neck is so stiff/achy that its painful to turn your head to look both ways at the stop light, and your even worried about a potential accident
  • You’ve had to miss out on family vacations due to your neck issues and the fear of a flare up with the trip
  • Having issues with strength or pain while writing or even lifting things around the house
  • Waking up 3-6 times a night because your neck just cannot get in a comfortable position

If you or a friend answered YES to any of these then read below. We had a recent person ask us about ways to improve neck troubles during drives. So, we’re going to include the exact 3 proven strategies below that we gave her. 

These tips have been used on dozens of past clients over the years to begin the process to get off all the pills, get back to long drives, avoid scary neck fusion surgeries, get back 7-8 hours of sleep, and more importantly get more quality time with family/friends.

So last Thursday I got a Facebook message from a friend of ours who asked:

“Quick question Arnan, I just took a long drive to Richmond for an appointment. And I have this new neck issue with the drive. I just feel like my seat, head rest, and the entire car is making me hurt more. Any quick tips??? Thanks!”

  • Melissa, Warsaw

So, here’s exactly what I told Melissa, and feel free to use these quick tips in your car too. It should come in handy for your next big trip!

“First off, don’t feel bad one bit. Most cars are designed really poorly when it comes to supporting the back and neck. 

3 Major Neck Pain Tips For Driving

And this fact usually comes out with increased soreness or even pain when we go beyond a 30 minute drive.

I’d recommend 3 major tips to help with your neck on those drives...

  1. Grab the steering wheel on the lower sides instead of on the top. With long drives, holding your arms up in the other position can scrunch the upper trap muscles around your neck. 

This can lead to stiffness and even headaches in some cases. The lower position will let them relax and even give a mild stretch.

  1. Make sure your seat is close enough to your steering wheel. If you're not close enough, you’ll be forced to tilt your trunk forward to reach the wheel.

This causes your lower back to round, the chin sticks out, and even inward rounding of the shoulders. This done over long periods of time places a less than ideal stress to the neck.

  1. In 90% of car’s I’ve seen, the neck support is awful. In many cases it actually forces the chin to go forward and increases neck pain with long drives. Head over to amazon to find a standard neck support to place on your seat. Newgam Car Neck Pillow is a great brand of cervical support’s that works well in cars to maintain great positioning.”

So that’s the advice I gave Melissa to begin the process of fixing her neck troubles during and even after drives. They key with neck, shoulder, or arm issues is to not freeze. Those statistics at the start of the article are very true. 

Over 50-85% of folks in their 50’s, 60’s, and 70+ can get chronic neck pain if they don’t take care of it. The good news though is that typically it takes a very short period of time in the grand scheme of things to squash your neck pain (average plan of care we see in the clinic for neck pain is around 7-8 weeks).  That’s a very good trade off of time to avoid 10-20+ years of neck troubles.

First things first, if any reader has a family member or friend suffering with neck troubles driving or just neck pain in general please give them this article to help begin the process of getting back to a normal pain free active life.

Free 20 Minute Neck Pain Phone Consultation

Second, we want to give as much value as possible with every single article we have. So for the first 5-6 readers who contact us through at (804) 493-3256 (accepting messages 24/7) or https://www.montrossphysicaltherapy.com/Free-Phone-Consultation. We’ll give you a free 20 minute phone consultation with one of neck pain experts.

Here’s how this sort of phone consultation would work:

  • Our experts will ask a series of targeted questions to get a better feel of the case
  • From here we can determine the likely cause of the neck pain, driving problems,  sleeping issues, etc.
  • Then we can determine based off the cause of the issue what the top 2-3 treatment strategies would be to get rid of the neck pain while driving, reduce the pain medication, improve hours of sleep by 1-2 hours, and even protect the neck with any sort of exercise you’d like to do in the future

We have a limited amount of time available for these phone consultations due to current treatment demands for our physical therapists. So please call or head over to the link above as quickly as possible to reserve one of the 5-6 opened slots.

If you know your ready to fix your neck 100% though within the next 7-8 weeks. Then you can also request an evaluation session to begin feeling better as quickly as possible. To request your evaluation, you can give our customer service specialist Jake a ring at (804) 493-3256 to book today!